Writing in The Cyclopedia of Western Australia in 1912, five years after the establishment of the Children's Court, JS Battye explained why a separate court had been set up for young offenders and matters affecting young people: 'Those children who do wrong are charged in a separate Court from which all but those actually engaged in the case are excluded, and thus the demoralising effects of a public exhibition are avoided.' (Vol 1, p. 504). According to the Western Mail in 1908, this provision elevated 'the moral tone of the country'.
To this day, the practice of protecting children's reputations has continued in the court, giving young people the chance to enter their adult lives without the notoriety of juvenile convictions.
The way young people are disciplined by the courts has changed over time. In August 1928 it was reported that the Police Magistrate at Fremantle ordered a 15 year old boy to be 'birched'. Apparently, it was not possible to find
anyone in the public service who was willing to carry out this order, though some other citizens had volunteered for the task (Chate, p.41).
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14 September 2017
Cite this: https://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/wa/WE00486
First published by the Find & Connect Web Resource Project for the Commonwealth of Australia, 2011
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